Organizations consist of people and are by nature political. They are constructed like the Great Pyramid. The only place in the pyramid where you are safe from criticism is at the top, and even the CEO has to deal with the Board and the Shareholders.
In this kind of atmosphere, it is easy to “play it safe”. Propose no initiatives that are outside of the accepted way of viewing things and you live a stable, quiet, collegiate life at work
Those with innovative ideas and thoughts may run the risk of losing their chance at promotion or even their jobs. This becomes most visible in meetings when the someone asks if anyone has ideas on a given situation and there is deep silence. Is this silence or lack of ideas a measuring stick to determine whether politics are running your organization.
It is popular for management to say they are looking for innovation, when in actuality they may be opposed to it. If they have gotten into a comfort zone, change represents risk. This is why you can find a never-ending list of companies and brands that were once famous but no longer exist. It is also why start-ups and emerging companies can be successful. They have not had a chance to build a pyramid and initially operate on the vision of the innovator.
Many established companies have recognized the problem and have established positions such as VP of Innovation or Director of Innovation. In most cases, these people are being given the liberty of free thought, although in some the titles are mere window dressing.
What type of organization do you work in? What type of leadership does your organisation display?